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Malleus Monstrorum Unboxing (Not Responsible for Nightmares or TPKs)

I picked up Malleus Monstrorum because of Pulp Cthulhu (review). In Pulp Cthulhu PCs are heroes who shoot and fight to defeat the Mythos. I want my PCs to fight cultists and evil villains but also monsters. So, I wanted to see what MM had to offer. And c’mon, the cover art is really creepy. Great start.

MM1.png

I checked on the definition of each word. Monstrorum is Latin for monster (terrifying and dangerous creature). That makes sense. Malleus means a small bone in the middle ear which transmits vibrations of the eardrum to the incus. Umm… But wait! It literally means hammer. And hammer to me means Hammer Films, which means horror. So horrifying and dangerous creatures. Check.

Let’s see what kind of hammers these books really have. First off, there are about 260 monster and deity entries. So, a lot of horrifying and terrifying monsters and the cults that love them.

Both books have a snazzy dark red ribbon which is classy. I’m going to be honest though. I open the first book to blank red end pages which is not my favorite. I’d love to see art or size charts here instead. There is art of investigators on page 8. And lots of great game info.

Finally, on page 31 something horrifying. A span of abhoth. It looks like two hands on top of each other attached to a brain with wings. Okay, that gets points for being disturbing. Get it off! Get it off! Get it off! We get some paragraphs to place this monster in the Mythos and where it can be found. It has to dodge Abhoth’s tentacles to scurry away to our world, or find an angle to the Dreamlands, or some stay with Abhoth despite his grabby tentacles. I like this monster so far. So how does it do at tearing off faces? This thing requires Keeper intervention and basically does damage. So okay.

Now on page 35 is where I paid the price to see this Hammer film. The Daughter of Atlach-Nacha. Spider-like. Yuck, points there. Traps and webs are there. Can spear with a leg or use a venomous bite. And the venom causes paralysis. And then the daughter: “may begin to devour the flesh of the victim’s head, slowly sucking out the person’s brain as it does so. It takes two rounds before the spider eats through the victim’s eyes and begins on their brain (possibly buying some time for rescue). This gruesome feast takes 1 minute per 5 Int of the victim.” Yeah, this one wins. Look, it is a spider that traps you, uses venom to paralyze you, and then starts eating your head going through your eyes to your brain. The smarter you are the longer it takes. Yeah, that is a horrifying, terrifying, and dangerous creature. I don’t see any way to argue the point.

There is a lot of blood drain and crushing in other monsters. And each monster gets a creepy code name like blood-soaked vines of death or planet eaters. The planet eaters are dhole who can spit a gob of slimy goo up to two to three miles. An investigator with an artillery background can now fight something horrifying. And yuck, the goatswood gnome. Yeah, it only minces flesh (and maybe casts spells) but what a horrible thing to run into while pulling weeds in your garden.

Only two minor quibbles here. The monsters do have a lot of text to make their abilities work. But this is not really a drawback, since these beasts can be the centerpiece of a whole adventure. It isn’t like you’re stocking a dungeon or something.

And I would back a kickstarter to increase the art. Don’t get me wrong, the art is great. But to help a Keeper out, I would love to see art of each creature and maybe some more larger spreads. However, the Mi-Go art on page 96 freaks me out. A lot. Kudos to Chaosium. I am also a fan of hounds of Tindalos and they get a full page spread. And wow, the double page art for 168-169 is stunning (the cover plus space with more monsters). There are also monsters from legend and beasts (animals).

MM2.png

Look at the size of my syringe. Oh yeah, look at the brain jar I have for you to go slowly mad inside after I rip your living brain out of your head. I just have a lightning gun. Sad Mi-Go emoji.

I’m only one book in and well over the word count. I think the slipcase is worth it just for the first book of monsters alone. What a horrifying and terrifying collection to rend investigators with and threaten to eat the heads of heroes. Even monsters that mostly just do damage have background text to help Keepers up the horror and run exhilarating and scary combats. I will say the second book has great info on cults and encounters with Mythos deities and many entries have a physical manifestation with game stats. I have no doubt I can horrify and terrify any Pulp Cthulhu heroes that I’m the Keeper for. Malleus Monstrorum gets five out of five eldritch tentacles.
 

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody

Dire Bare

Legend
I checked on the definition of each word. Monstrorum is Latin for monster (terrifying and dangerous creature). That makes sense. Malleus means a small bone in the middle ear which transmits vibrations of the eardrum to the incus. Umm… But wait! It literally means hammer. And hammer to me means Hammer Films, which means horror. So horrifying and dangerous creatures. Check.

The title is a play on a medieval witch-hunters guide called the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. As in, hammer those witches dead.
 





MGibster

Legend
I honestly thought everyone was familiar with the Malleus Maleficarum. Maybe I just read weird stuff. For more on Witchcraft I recommend Demonology in the Form of a Dialogue by King James VI of Scotland. Good stuff.
 

MidnightBlue

Explorer
As an owner I can say this is indeed a beautiful (?) monster of a monster collection. Chaosium does big books well. I've got the slipcase of the core books, the slipcase of the Masks of Nyarlathotep, the slipcase of Horror on the Orient Express, and this slipcase collection. They are breaking my bank and my bookcases! :)
 

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